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Brubaker (1980)

R | | Crime, Drama | 20 June 1980 (USA)
The new warden of a small prison farm in Arkansas tries to clean it up of corruption after initially posing as an inmate.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (story) | 3 more credits »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

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Storyline

When the new warden comes in disguised as an inmate, he sees firsthand all the corruption and scams the guards and prison officials are running. When he reveals himself and starts to implement reforms to stop the corruption, the local business community, who had been benefiting from the scams, fights back, and the corrupt prison system starts making political trouble for the new warden. Written by Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The most wanted man in Wakefield prison is the warden! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 June 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shadow Walk  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$37,100,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(DeLuxe)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of two Robert Redford movies released in 1980 that were Oscar-nominated. This film was an Academy Award nominee for Best Original Screenplay, while the other movie Ordinary People (1980), received six Oscar nominations. See more »

Goofs

In a restaurant scene, a Conn's Potato Chip sales display can be seen. Conn's are only made and sold in Ohio, not Arkansas. See more »

Quotes

Lillian Gray: I want to know why you always think you can just walk out.
Henry Brubaker: Because that's murder they're talking about in there. And if I condone it, you can't turn around and tell these men why they're locked up. It's one standard for everyone, the way I see it.
Lillian Gray: And you can't see any options, no middle ground.
Henry Brubaker: No, I don't see playing politics with the truth, Lillian.
Lillian Gray: No way to compromise?
Henry Brubaker: Oh, on strategy, maybe... but not on principle.
Lillian Gray: [flustered] But that's what I... goddamn it, I agree with you...
Henry Brubaker: [bluntly] ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Murphy's Law: Electric Bill (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Respect
(uncredited)
Written by Otis Redding
Performed by Morgan Freeman when he attacks another inmate
See more »

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User Reviews

 
In prison, even the stink 'stinks'
27 February 2005 | by (Suffolk, England) – See all my reviews

Brubaker (Robert Redford) as a messiah-type, seemingly on the fringe of municipal importance, takes up the job of Warden at a Southern state penal farm and decides to see the extent of what he is up against by entering in disguise as just another inmate, with no privileges. He feels that to absorb the experience from the inside looking out is preferable to relying on preconceptions. He is right as the thrust of the film would have otherwise been lost and the overall plot (simple though it is) is stronger for the fact that Brubaker has 'been there'.

He manages to carve a bond with a few prisoners before he modestly reveals his true identity and, through a series of well acted confrontations, he begins to make the prison machine tick over nicely. In the final analysis his efforts are not totally successful, but the film does reflect change and at least the viewer can agree that he seized the chance to make a difference.

The film is possibly a bit too long and the principal character is under-developed. 'Brubaker' was apparently a rather mournful, strained film to work on and the original director, Bob Rafelson, was sacked for smacking Ron Silverman (producer) in the nose during an early on-set argument.

However, I think it is well acted and very absorbing to watch. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Brubaker gets his staff to release a few long term solitary confinements, stating that before they do so, the requisite pairs of sunglasses should be given to them as they come out of complete darkness for the first time in ages - the staff think Brubaker is crazy: of course, they cannot see that this is all about building trust. The master plan is therefore to get the inmates on board and allow the trustees to follow. Nice theory, not so nice to put into practice as he is up against a rancid, but self policing establishment from day one.

Watch out for Wilford Brimley as "Rogers" - a later teaming up with Redford took place in the outstanding "The Natural", with Brimley starring in a major role as the jaundiced, downtrodden, Pop Fisher.


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